Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Ink

The last commercial print shop I worked for used oil based inks and solvents to clean up with and I have to say I didn't mind the smell. In fact I couldn't smell that much at all. I was around so many chemicals all day with dozens of screen printers that even with ventilation the dull headache and lack of smell just became routine. Yes if I went out after work people would comment on fumes that seemed to have permeated into my clothes and skin but that was just the way it was. Well that is not how I envisioned madder root.

When Janyce and I were first fleshing out our business we knew we wanted it to have as little environmental impact as possible and we also wanted it to be fun. Dull headaches are not fun. We wanted bright long lasting colors without having to use solvents. After doing some research we decided to go with Permaset Aqua Inks, which are water-based and completely solvent free. (Some inks that look water based are instead water-soluble and still are petroleum based). They provide both an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional inks and the vibrant colors we want to see on our organic linen tea towels and napkins.

In choosing colors for our designs, we have the option of using the Permaset Inks right out of the jar or of mixing our own, custom colors.
Some people hear “water-based” and think the colors might wash right off. Nope! After each tea towel or napkin is hand-printed, we heat set them. The inks sink into the fibers and provide long-lasting images.
Organic linen and the ink colors do soften with use. We recommend washing your tea towels or napkins in cold water and hanging them on the line to dry, but have tested them out in warmer temperatures and the dryer by throwing them in with our regular laundry.

We think you'll be thrilled with how these water-based, solvent free inks look and feel on your madder root tea towels or napkins.

To learn about our organic linen, please check out this blog post: The Linen

Monday, September 27, 2010

Old Town Riverfest

"Your Momma Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll..."


Cool Green Car

Class of 2011

Class of 2013

Very Hungry Caterpillar

Old Town Fire Rescue

University of Maine Marching Band

Vendors Galore

The Penobscot River

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Common Ground Fair

Here are just a few images from MOFGA's Common Ground Fair being held September 24-26, 2010.

Garlic Jan

Border Collie Demonstration

Vegetables on Parade


Squash and Pumpkins

Quench Metal Works


Horse Demonstration

One Woman Studio


Composting Toilets


Llama Sculpture

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Linen

Madder Root tea towels and napkins are made from 100% organic linen. We chose linen because of its strength, absorbency and tendency to soften with use. Linen is made from the the cellulose fibers of the flax plant.

While there are many ways to extract the fibers from the plant (including chemical treatments), the fibers for the linen we use are retted using moisture (dew or other water sources) which naturally rots away the bark. The long fibers are then cleaned, combed and straightened for spinning. Much of this work is still done by hand because of the fragility of flax fibers in their natural state. Once spun into thread or twine and woven into linen cloth, this amazing fabric is 2 to 3 times stronger than cotton.

Although flax can grow in the United States, preferring cool, humid climates, production for linen textiles is, largely, done outside the country. In recent years, most of the flax grown in the United States has gone to the production of linseed oil.

While linen can withstand hotter temperatures, we recommend washing our products in cold water, which is friendlier to the environment and helps keep the inks brighter longer. Line or tumble dry.